Correlates of later-onset cannabis use in the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC)

Arpana Agrawal, Michael T Lynskey
Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2009 November 1, 105 (1-2): 71-5

BACKGROUND: Much of the research surrounding correlates of cannabis initiation has focused on adolescent and young adult populations. However, there is growing evidence that cannabis onset occurs later in life as well and little is known of the risk and protective influences that are associated with late-onset cannabis initiation.

METHODS: We used data on 34,653 individuals that participated in both the first wave and the 3-year follow-up (3YFU) of the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association between cannabis initiation at 3YFU and socio-demographic, religious/pro-social and psychiatric measures. Analyses were also conducted in age bands to further distinguish across the lifespan.

RESULTS: Of the 27,467 lifetime abstainers at wave 1509 had initiated cannabis use at 3YFU. Consistent associations between divorce, religious attendance, volunteer/community service, alcohol abuse/dependence, nicotine dependence and cannabis initiation were noted in the full sample and across age-bands.

CONCLUSIONS: Religious and pro-social activities are negatively associated with late-onset cannabis onset while divorce and alcohol and nicotine-related problems are positively associated with later onset.

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